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Interview Mon May 18 2009
This past weekend's National Restaurant Association trade show included exhibitors for all sorts of restaurant needs from meat cookers to vegetarian foods, from customer loyalty programs to beverage dispensing equipment. Many have predictable names that seem to tell exactly what they do. Then there's Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. I stopped by their booth and chatted with Jack Walker, who explained the name. Jack's voice has a certain enthusiasm that doesn't come through in print. You can listen to a recording of this interview on Vocalo.org.
Jack: The name is an old Cajun saying that our father used to use. When he'd cook, he'd say that he cooked so well that it'd make you want to slap your mom because she can't cook as well as he can. But it's an old Cajun saying that a lot of people use that you'll hear quite often in Louisiana.
Chris: Is it a family recipe?
Jack: It is a family recipe. It's our father's recipe. He did the original blend. After that, we kind of collaborated and developed all of the other blends and the other products. Our mother's actually the owner of the company, so that makes it kind of unique in fact that the name of it is Slap Ya Mama owned by a woman.
Chris: Sounds like a young company?
Jack: It is. We'll be eight years in June. We're real small still. We're still family oriented. We're growing; we're growing really fast. It's really exciting.
Chris: Can I find this stuff in Chicago?
Jack: Currently, no. We're working on getting it into the grocery stores out here, and trying to move more into the food service industry. That's why we're here, to promote and try to get our name out there more and more.
Chris: It's all seasoning, right?
Jack: Ya, we have three different seasoning blends. We have a fish fry, a seasoned fish fry. We have a Cajun pepper sauce, which is like a hot sauce but it's more flavorful. And then we also have a seafood ball to do lobsters and shrimp or crawfish... I don't know, you all can't do crawfish up here.
Chris: Is everything vegan?
Jack: Everything is vegan, yes.
Chris: You can just put it on fish?
Jack: You can put it on fish.
Chris: Or tofu.
Jack: Or tofu. It'll make your tofu taste way better, I think.
The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Show runs through Tuesday at McCormick Place and is open to those "directly involved in the foodservice or hospitality industry."